Obama Gives the Nod: White House Going Solar
The Obama administration confirmed Tuesday that two new solar projects will be installed atop the White House in the spring of 2011.
Photovoltaic solar panels along with a solar hot water heater will provide electricity and hot water for use in the White House Residence.
“This project reflects President Obama’s strong commitment to U.S. leadership in solar energy and the jobs it will create here at home,” Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said in a statement. “Deploying solar energy technologies across the country will help America lead the global economy for years to come.”
According to the Energy Department, the White House will launch a “competitive procurement process” in order to choose the installation company.
The White House and solar panels have historically been on-again, off-again.
The oil crisis in 1979 spurred the first usage of solar power on the White House grounds, when Jimmy Carter had solar panels installed on the roof of the West Wing as a symbolic ‘moving away from oil’ gesture. The Carter solar panels were removed in 1986 during the Reagan Administration.
The Bush Administration completed three solar installations in 2002 – albeit without much fanfare.
Solar groups had been putting on a full court press campaigning for just such a move from the Obama administration.
“The White House did the right thing, and for the right reasons: they listened to the Americans who asked for solar on their roof, and they listened to the scientists and engineers who told them this is the path to the future,” said Bill McKibben, an activist who drove the Carter solar panel to Washington all the way from Maine last month and requested that the White House install it on the roof. “If it has anything like the effect of the White House garden, it could be a trigger for a wave of solar installations across the country and around the world.”
The Energy Department noted that the announcement was made on the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s Executive Order 13514 on Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, which called on the Federal Government to lead by example towards a clean energy economy and reduce, measure and report direct and indirect greenhouse gas pollution.